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Lack of Transport Hindering Agriculture Extension Works in Island Districts

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However, extension workers in island districts have not received any means of transport to help them traverse areas under their jurisdiction. These extension workers need motorized boats to sail on water. The Agriculture Ministry has instead offered motorcycles to the outlying island sub counties to deliver services from one island to another.
Minister Vincent Ssempijja spraying a coffee farm in Mbale recently

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The absence of sufficient transport means for agriculture extension workers in Kalangala and Buvuma Districts is hampering the promotion of good agricultural practices in several outlying islands.  

The Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Ministry, has purchased 72 double cabin vehicles and 1200 motorcycles for agricultural extension workers across the country. The ministry intends to buy an additional 1000 motorcycles for the group.  

However, extension workers in island districts have not received any means of transport to help them traverse areas under their jurisdiction. These extension workers need motorized boats to sail on water.  The Agriculture Ministry has instead offered motorcycles to the outlying island sub counties to deliver services from one island to another.  

Rashid Kaddu, an agricultural extension worker in Bubeke Sub County in Kalangala District, says the distribution of motor cycles to extension workers in island sub counties surrounded by water doesn’t promote their work. “So do they expect us to ride motor cycles on water?” Kaddu asked.      

In 2017, Gideon Bukko, an extension worker was given coffee seedlings to transport to Bubeke and Mazinga Sub Counties. Well as Bukko managed to transport the coffee seedlings using a cargo boat, he failed to deliver the seedlings to the sub counties where they went meant to go.

The seedlings dried up under a mango tree at Bubeke Lwazi landing site. The extension workers now move at the mercy of the health workers with motorized boats and fuel to move from one Sub County to another.  Agricultural extension workers are employees of local governments. 

Government has through the Agriculture Ministry and the Department of the Extension services has allocated up to Shillings 39.5 billion to facilitate the work of agricultural extension to boost value addition on agricultural produce.   

However, Island Districts have cannot use such funds due to lack of utilities like boats and motorized engines to move from one island to another to meet farmers. It costs up to Shillings 25million to purchase one boat and an engine.   

Patience Rwemigisa, the Director Agriculture Extension in the Ministry of Agriculture, says there is need to offer Island Districts transport means that suit their geographical locations. He however, says his department is constrained by the lack of resources to buy boats and engines for the extension workers.   

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